Filmmaker Michael Mann‘s Heat has long been regarded as one of the most influential crime dramas in Hollywood history since its theatrical distribution in 1995. In the wake of the movie’s continued acclaim in the almost three decades since its initial release, the writer-director-producer recently told Empire that he intends to adapt its sequel into a feature.
Mann’s desire to turn Heat‘s follow-up into a film comes as the story is set to be published as a novel on August 18. The book, which was co-written by the filmmaker and Meg Gardiner, takes place both before and after the movie’s plot, similar to the story featured in The Godfather: Part II.
Much like the Godfather sequel, Heat starred Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. In the latter movie, Pacino played Lieutenant Vincent Hanna and De Niro portrayed criminal Neil McCauley. The follow-up novel will largely focus on Vincent and one of Neil’s crew members, Chris Shiherlis, who was played in the original film by Val Kilmer.
“It’s totally planned to be a movie,” Mann said about Heat 2. But while the helmer is aware that adapting the novel for the screen would be a challenging undertaking, he doesn’t envision turning the sequel story into a television mini-series. “Is it a modest movie? No. Is it a very expensive series? No. It’s going to be one large movie.”
While Mann enjoyed working with De Niro and Kilmer on Heat, he added that he realizes that the actors wouldn’t be able to reprise their roles for the prequel portions of the series’ next installment. “I love those guys, but they’d have to be six years younger than they were in Heat.”
But Mann feels confident that if he were to recast the roles for the follow-up screen adaptation, it would match the power of the original film. “It’s sustained in culture It’s known…[W]hen you check out its prominence in home vid for over 20 years, this thing really has legs. People are still watching it [and] talking about it…And that certainly justifies a very large ambitious movie,” he noted.
Mann also explained why he decided to write Heat 2 as a novel first before a screenplay. “The ability to which you can deep-dive into the internal world is fascinating, and you can do that best in a novel. I try to evoke that experience in the films I make, to locate the audience within the internal world of a character. The novel form allows me an even greater arena.”
Mann first crafted a movie based on the story that’s featured in the original Heat with the 1989 project, L.A. Takedown. The latter is based on the real-life relationship between Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson and career criminal Neil McCauley. Not content with how that version came out, he rewrote the same basic story, recast it and released it as Heat.